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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Children's stories: what knowledge constitutes indigenous knowledge?
Author:Stears, MichèleISNI
Periodical:Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:indigenous knowledge
science education
teaching methods
Abstract:Curriculum 2005 (Department of Education (DoE), 1995) foregrounds indigenous knowledge systems as one of the themes that should be integrated across the South African school curriculum. There is a move towards designing curricula that consider learners' cultural backgrounds, hence the emphasis on incorporating informal knowledge in the curriculum. This article reports on the nature of the knowledge produced by children when applying such an approach, thus raising questions about the nature of indigenous knowledge. The study was part of an evaluation of the Primary Science Project (PSP) which operates in the disadvantaged urban townships and rural areas of South Africa's Western Cape. The intention was to design a science module on a topic that learners identified as relevant. The method employed was to ask learners to write stories on the topic in an effort to determine what indigenous knowledge they held with regard to the topic. More than 100 stories were generated, some written in English and some in isiXhosa. While the stories contained examples of indigenous knowledge, the majority of experiences learners identified with was not indigenous knowledge in the traditional sense, but knowledge related to their personal circumstances. This raises the question of whether poor socioeconomic conditions lead to the erosion of indigenous knowledge held by the parents and grandparents of these children or whether the subculture of poverty has produced a new kind of indigenous knowledge. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]